Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/29/1998 05:08 PM FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
        HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                   
                   April 29, 1998                                              
                     5:08 p.m.                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
                                                                               
Representative Alan Austerman, Chairman                                        
Representative Ivan Ivan                                                       
Representative Mark Hodgins                                                    
                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
                                                                               
Representative Scott Ogan                                                      
Representative Gene Kubina                                                     
                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
                                                                               
* HOUSE BILL NO. 489                                                           
"An Act relating to the transponders on commercial fishing vessels;            
and providing for an effective date."                                          
                                                                               
     - REMOVED FROM AGENDA                                                     
                                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 483                                                             
"An Act relating to processors of sport caught fish; requiring                 
certain nonresident alien sport fishermen to be accompanied by a               
sport fishing guide; and providing for an effective date."                     
                                                                               
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                          
                                                                               
(* First public hearing)                                                       
                                                                               
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
                                                                               
BILL: HB 483                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: SPORT FISH COMMERCIAL SERVICES                                    
SPONSOR(S): RULES                                                              
                                                                               
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
 4/07/98      2906     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 4/07/98      2906     (H)  FISHERIES, RESOURCES                               
 4/15/98               (H)  FSH AT  5:00 PM CAPITOL 124                        
 4/15/98               (H)  MINUTE(FSH)                                        
 4/29/98               (H)  FSH AT  5:00 PM CAPITOL 124                        
                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                               
                                                                               
JIM HORNADAY, Legislative Assistant                                            
 to Representative Peter Kott                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
Capitol Building, Room 204                                                     
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 465-6848                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSHB 483( ).                                 
                                                                               
AMY DAUGHERTY, Legislative Administrative Assistant                            
 to Representative Alan Austerman                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
Capitol Building, Room 434                                                     
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 465-4230                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSHB 483( ).                                 
                                                                               
VIRGIL UMPHENOUR, Member                                                       
Board of Fisheries                                                             
878 Lynwood Way                                                                
North Pole, Alaska 99705                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 456-3885                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 483( ).                       
                                                                               
JOEL HARD, Representative                                                      
Fish and Wildlife Protection Agency                                            
P.O. Box 388                                                                   
Palmer, Alaska 99645-0388                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 746-9139                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSHB 483( ).                                 
                                                                               
ALAN LEMASTER                                                                  
P.O. Box 222                                                                   
Gakona, Alaska 99586                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 822-3664                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 483( ).                      
                                                                               
JAY BELLINGER, Refuge Manager                                                  
Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge                                                
468 Lilly Dr.                                                                  
Kodiak, Alaska 99615                                                           
Telephone:  NOT PROVIDED                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 483( ).                      
                                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                               
                                                                               
TAPE 98-16, SIDE A                                                             
Number 0001                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN ALAN AUSTERMAN called the House Special Committee on                  
Fisheries meeting to order at 5:08 p.m.  Members present at the                
call to order were Representatives Austerman, Ivan and Hodgins.                
                                                                               
HB 483 - SPORT FISH COMMERCIAL SERVICES                                        
                                                                               
Number 0044                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN announced that the committee would hear HB 483,             
"An Act relating to processors of sport caught fish; requiring                 
certain nonresident alien sport fishermen to be accompanied by a               
sport fishing guide; and providing for an effective date."                     
                                                                               
Number 0123                                                                    
                                                                               
JIM HORNADAY, Legislative Assistant to Representative Peter Kott,              
stated that he hoped to have a more completed committee substitute             
to the bill, but he was not able to do so.  He stated that the                 
overall purpose of the bill is to improve the stewardship of the               
fisheries.  Section 1 deals with non-resident alien sport                      
fishermen, requiring them to be with a registered sport fish                   
guides.  He stated that this will hopefully curtail mistakes and               
abuses by aliens who are not familiar with the fish and game                   
regulations.                                                                   
                                                                               
MR. HORNADAY stated that Section 2, requires processors of sport               
fish to register with the Department of Fish and Game as well as               
maintain records of the sport fish process.  He stated that he is              
referring to CSHB 483( ), Version Q, and stated that a new Section             
1 has been added and it contains much of the language embodied in              
HB 19.  He referred to Section 1, page 1, and stated that it would             
be a Class  A misdemeanor offense for a non-resident alien sport               
fisherman to take salmon without a guide.  The maximum penalty is              
a $5,000 fine or a year in jail or both.                                       
                                                                               
Number 0352                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if it was correct that "the original bill             
did not have a registered guide with it."                                      
                                                                               
MR. HORNADAY stated that was his understanding.                                
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if that was the basic change for that                 
section.                                                                       
                                                                               
AMY DAUGHERTY, Legislative Administrative Assistant to                         
Representative Alan Austerman, stated that the only change in that             
is section is taking out the exemption for Mexicans.                           
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that there is reference to license under             
AS 16.40.270 and AS 16.40.280 which was not in the original bill.              
                                                                               
Number 0435                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. HORNADAY asked why was Mexico taken out.                                   
                                                                               
Number 0445                                                                    
                                                                               
MS. DAUGHERTY stated that the Attorney General's office informed               
them that the NAFTA provisions did not apply to this recreational              
sport fishery, only to the commercial guiding business.  She stated            
that the sponsor could have pulled out the reference to Canada but             
there was a concern expressed that it would be problematic since a             
lot of Canadians come to Alaska to sport fish on week-ends.                    
                                                                               
Number 0549                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MARK HODGINS stated that he needed to declare a                 
conflict of interest.  His family members are sport guides and big             
game hunter/outfitters.  He stated that some portions of this bill             
would benefit his family and himself.                                          
                                                                               
Number 0614                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that it is noted but he will still be                
required to vote.                                                              
                                                                               
Number 0621                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN stated that he also has a conflict of                 
interest, as he is a shareholder in a corporation that owns a                  
sport fishing lodge.                                                           
                                                                               
Number 0626                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that it is so noted and that he would be             
required to vote as well.                                                      
                                                                               
Number 0636                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. HORNADAY stated that there is a change in the definition of                
processing on page 2, line 30, the word "butchering" has been taken            
out.  He explained that AS 16.40.270 and AS 16.40.280 puts some                
requirements in the bill.  He stated that on page 5, AS 16.40.290,             
lists the graded penalties, from a Class A misdemeanor to a                    
violation.  He stated that in AS 16.40.295 are definitions that                
have been worked out over the years.                                           
                                                                               
Number 0820                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. HORNADAY stated that Representative Kott is concerned with                 
Section 1 and obtaining workable wording that would permit non-                
resident alien sport fishermen's friends or acquaintances, who come            
over to fish for a short period of time, to not have to hire a                 
guide.  He explained that Representative Kott is concerned with                
developing a compelling state interest as was developed for the                
hunting guide requirement, under safety and resource protection                
reasons.  Mr. Hornaday stated that Section 1 has arisen as a result            
of testimony that the committee has heard over a number of years.              
He stated that the "Wasilla Board of Fish" was concerned with this             
issue as well as the Kodiak refuge.  He indicated that the legal               
department has notified the committee that there could be a                    
possible constitutional problem with Section 1.  He stated that the            
processing requirements in Section 2 are supported by the                      
"department".                                                                  
                                                                               
Number 1034                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that he understood the desire on page 3,             
Article 6 to define a sport fish operator as it was defined in HB
19, which did pass the House.  He stated that he assumed that they             
are looking to put Article 6 in the bill, to give definition to the            
guides that are being referred to in Section 1.                                
                                                                               
Number 1134                                                                    
                                                                               
MS. DAUGHERTY stated that was correct.  She pointed out that                   
testimony, particularly from the Division of Sport Fish at the last            
hearing of this bill, indicated that it was almost rhetorical to               
have the non-resident alien sport fishermen guide requirement in               
the bill.  She said "If anyone, at any time, just needed to send in            
the registration to the department to be a guide."  She explained              
that about two years ago, there were some requirements developed               
through the guide charter task force and the director of the                   
Division of Sport Fish indicated that it would be better to use                
these requirements that were already hammered out.  She stated the             
director was also supportive of incorporating the definitions in               
the bill.                                                                      
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked Mr. Umphenour, if he had a chance to go               
through the bill.                                                              
                                                                               
Number 1304                                                                    
                                                                               
VIRGIL UMPHENOUR, Member, Board of Fisheries, testified via                    
teleconference from Phoenix that he has and what Amy stated was                
correct, the board and the guide charter task force has been                   
working on this for three years and those definitions are a result.            
He stated that CSHB 483( ) is a good product.                                  
                                                                               
Number 1421                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked Mr. Hard if he had a chance to look at the            
bill and what he thought of it.                                                
                                                                               
JOEL HARD, Representative, Fish and Wildlife Protection Agency                 
testified via teleconference from Palmer, that "[The agency]                   
supports HB 19 and has worked with the sport fish division to come             
up with a fiscal note associated with HB 19 to try and improve the             
sport fish guiding requirement language and this is halfway there."            
He stated that the committee has his comments on HB 483 in letter              
form.  He pointed out that he would have a discussion with the                 
commission in regards to the added language of HB 19 because it is             
such an important issue, this bill needs to have more evaluation.              
                                                                               
Number 1530                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if he would do that and send the comments             
to him and if they do move the bill out tonight he will forward                
those comments to the House Resources Standing Committee, which is             
were the bill will be heard next.                                              
                                                                               
MR. HARD stated that he would do that.                                         
                                                                               
Number 1537                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked Mr. Lemaster if he had a chance to read to            
the bill.                                                                      
                                                                               
Number 1552                                                                    
                                                                               
ALAN LEMASTER, testified via teleconference from Gakona that he is             
reading it as the committee proceeds, as he just received it this              
afternoon.                                                                     
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that if he had any comments he could                 
forward them to the committee.                                                 
                                                                               
Number 1606                                                                    
                                                                               
JAY BELLINGER, Refuge Manager, Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge,                
testified via teleconference from Kodiak that he has been Refuge               
Manager for 15 years.  He stated that in Kodiak there are groups of            
non-resident alien sport fishermen mainly from European countries,             
as they have interviewed people from Austria, Germany, France and              
Italy.  He said, "The ones that know the regulations are all just              
friends, however they have written tickets to two operators in the             
past six years for illegal commercial operation on the refuge."  He            
explained that they are supposed to have a refuge special use                  
permit, if they are guiding on the refuge.  The two individuals                
admitted they were guiding on the river and tickets were written.              
He stated that they are observing the non-resident alien sport                 
fishery to be primarily interested in, "a meat fishery", which is              
fishing to build up the maximum pounds of salmon to export to their            
country.  He stated that they primarily have observed this type of             
fishing with the non-resident alien fishermen and have only                    
observed this with one non-resident sport fisherman and never with             
resident sport fishermen.  He stated that the real guides, the                 
Alaskan sport fish guides, normally restrict the number of fish                
that the clients can take.  He stated that there are two groups of             
the nonresident alien's that are guiding groups of their countrymen            
on the refuge.  He said "The ones that don't know the scoop and                
admit that they are guiding, we've been ticketing.  The ones that              
know what's going on -- the only one that can speak English of the             
group is probably the guide so you can't build a case."  He stated             
that more fish are being taken in the fields by these groups.                  
                                                                               
Number 1954                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if he had read the bill.                              
                                                                               
MR. BELLINGER replied that he has.                                             
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked for his impression of the bill.                       
                                                                               
Number 2009                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. BELLINGER stated that for years he has hoped that the state                
would control sport fish guiding and there is a good situation with            
big game guides.  He stated that this bill would be quite an                   
improvement.                                                                   
                                                                               
Number 2034                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if it was correct that he controls the                
sport fish guides that he knows of on the refuge.                              
                                                                               
MR. BELLINGER stated that the Alaska residents that are sport fish             
guiding have to have a refuge special use permit and there are only            
so many allowed in certain areas so there is not a conflict between            
the commercial operators and the guided and unguided fishermen.  He            
stated that they also try to make sure that there isn't a conflict             
between the fishermen and the bears.  He stated that the situation             
with the guided alien groups is that they can not prove that they              
are guides which is causing the problems.                                      
                                                                               
Number 2112                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if the non-guided residents of the U.S.               
have to have a special use permit.                                             
                                                                               
Number 2121                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. BELLINGER replied that they do not. It is just the guides.  He             
stated that they have a law enforcement camp on the Ayakulik River             
which is one of the two main king salmon fishing rivers on the                 
Kodiak for about the last seven years.  He stated that they staff              
that camp straight through the peak time of king salmon fishing.               
He stated that therefore, they are talking to every group that goes            
out there on that river for a three to four week period.  He stated            
that they have good documentation of what is going on.                         
                                                                               
Number 2210                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if he sees the "meat-type fishing" on the             
Ayakulik River.                                                                
                                                                               
MR. BELLINGER replied that he has watched it on the Ayakulik River             
and he as heard it happens on the Karluk River.                                
                                                                               
Number 2255                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. UMPHENOUR stated that this is not only a problem in Kodiak, it             
is a problem in many other places.  At every Board of Fisheries                
meeting this problem is brought up.  He stated that they have had              
a large number of complaints.  He stated that there are many cases             
where the non-resident alien fishermen can not speak English, or               
read the regulations.  He stated that he is a commercial processor             
of commercial and sport caught fish.  He informed the committee                
that he heard a story of a French airline pilot who had in excess              
of 3,100 pounds of smoked salmon that was processed in Anchorage               
and sent home.  He stated that Bud Hodson, a sport fish lodge owner            
in Bristol Bay, told him that one French owned operation was                   
sending two Beaver loads of king salmon a day from the Nushagak to             
Anchorage to be smoked.  He stated that he has heard of these types            
of offenses in the entire state.  He stated that there is also a               
"mother ship" problem in Southeast Alaska, where there are alien               
cruise ships with small boats that fish offshore, taking king                  
salmon.  He asserted that the non-resident alien sport fishermen               
issue is a big problem and this bill is a step in the right                    
direction.                                                                     
                                                                               
Number 2516                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS made a motion to adopt CSHB 483( ), Version             
Q, 4/29/98.                                                                    
                                                                               
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there was an objection.  Hearing none,             
CSHB 483( ), Version  Q, 4/29/98 was adopted.                                  
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that Representative Kott had several                 
questions regarding the bill.  He asked Mr. Hornaday if he wanted              
to address them in this committee or in the Resources Committee.               
                                                                               
Number 2603                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. HORNADAY replied that assuming that they could work on it in               
the Resources Committee, this committee might as well move it out.             
He stated that he would defer to the chair and the members.                    
                                                                               
Number 2632                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS stated that he has some problems with the               
bill.  He stated that according to the bill anybody who freezes                
fish must then have a processor's licence.                                     
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN replied that is not intent.  He stated that they            
have had some discussions and the word "butchering" was taken out              
of it.  He stated that his staff has talked to several people in               
regard to this issue.                                                          
                                                                               
Number 2721                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS stated that he did not want someone to have             
to make the choice of putting fish in the freezer and preserving it            
or letting it rot because they do not have a processing license.               
                                                                               
Number 2753                                                                    
                                                                               
MS. DAUGHERTY stated that she has spoke with the Department of                 
Economic Conservation and "essentially sport fish does not have to             
have a processors license unless it is canned or smoked at which               
point you do have to get a processors license."  According to the              
Department of Economic Conservation freezing is not included with              
in the definition of processing.  She stated that the department               
assured her that no processing license is required unless the lodge            
partakes in canning or smoking of the sport fish product.  She                 
stated that the bill is just setting out who would have to maintain            
records on the sport fish that is processed.  She stated that it is            
written so that people that just have charter guide businesses                 
would not have maintain those records as long as they did not                  
freeze or ship the fish in boxes.  She stated that as soon as they             
did prepare a fish for shipment including vacuum packaging or                  
wrapping, they would have to maintain records.  She stated that                
they were trying to avoid guides who simply would clean, gut and               
fillet the fish for their clients.  She stated that the section                
originated from the Board of Fisheries' resolution that expresses              
a frustration with the numerous fish being shipped out of the state            
every summer from coastal towns without documentation.  She stated             
that this would help enforcement and the Department of Public                  
Safety has come out in strong support of this section.                         
                                                                               
Number 3027                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS stated that he could not support this bill              
and with only three members here it will not move out of committee.            
He stated that he has some problems with the bill and he does not              
want to be put in a position to vote on the bill, but if he has to             
he will vote against it.                                                       
                                                                               
Number 3103                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that the only conflict that he wants to              
state is that "because of the context of some this language that               
has been put in here from HB 19, which is sitting in Senate                    
Resources.  I don't want it to be perceived that I am (INDISC.) any            
methodology at all of trying to roll any of my bills out of Senate             
Resources.  This draft is not my draft it is coming from the                   
sponsor."                                                                      
                                                                               
Number 3140                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS asked how similar was HB 19 to this bill.               
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN replied that "all the language from page 3, line            
6 back is HB 19."  It actually defines what a sport fish guide is.             
He stated that was not in the original bill.  He stated that he                
could understand why the sponsor wants it in the bill, because it              
does define what this bill is speaking to.                                     
                                                                               
Number 3222                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE IVAN asked if HB 19 is in the other body and this               
bill contains the same language.                                               
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN replied that after page 3, it is language that              
was passed out of the House in HB 19 but is sitting in the Senate              
Resources Standing Committee.  He stated that there are not enough             
votes to move it out tonight, and there probably will not be time              
to move it out of the committee this session.                                  
                                                                               
ADJOURNMENT                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN adjourned the House Special Committee on                    
Fisheries meeting at 5:43 p.m.                                                 

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